South/Metric - Live

By theajaysharma

South/Metric - San Diego, CA - Brick by Brick - February 1st, 2004

Review by Jason

Almost 2 years to the day and South is back in San Diego.

First, props to South for not skipping us like Elbow did this time around. Bastards.

Second, I knew they would have improved this time! Yay! Hooray! I'll get to that in a few.

I've heard nothing but good things about Metric, and the single "Combat Baby" is catchy as hell, so I wanted to arrive early because everything indicated 2 bands tonight: Metric and South. The Rock 105.3 website - Metric and South. South's website - Metric and South. BRICK BY BRICK'S (the venue) WEBSITE: METRIC AND SOUTH. So basically, Metric and South, right?

Christine and Mike, and Daye and his friends Laura and Erin all met me down around 8:30 and I had gotten there around 8:15 and was greeted to a line of around 25 people (all there to see 2 bands - METRIC AND SOUTH).

The tickets said 8:00pm, so we figured doors would open around then and then Metric would go on around 9pm.

Yeah right.

As I'm standing in line waiting for doors to open, a band starts their soundcheck. "Wow, this sounds like 'Nothing Natural' by Lush," and then a guy starts singing. Ummm. That's not Metric, and it sure as hell isn't South. Arrrghh. Too good to be true. Getting up to the door we find out that a third band has randomly appeared on the bill - Tomorrow's Son.

So we hang around outside for a bit and decide that it's a might bit chilly (for San Diego, ya know), so we head inside. I haven't been to Brick by Brick since I saw Swervedriver in 1998. It used to be a great venue for "my kind of bands," but has since turned into a haven for metal bands. Sad, that.

We got a drink, talked for a bit at the back of the bar near the pool tables, and then Tomorrow's Sun came on.

You can always tell the first opening band - normally they're the ones that just aren't that good. Tomorrow's Son is one of those bands. The guitar reminded me - at times - of early 90s Lush with a tinge of Cure, mixed with Peter Murphy's voice - but in a bad way. One song started almost exactly like "The Figurehead" by the Cure. And then that soundcheck song - I swear it was a ripoff of the intro to "Nothing Natural" by Lush. It started decent - but then turned to shit. His voice didn't match the music, which was pretty bad. Why am I still talking about them? Christ.

Ok here's what I know about Metric: female fronted and their single is called "Combat Baby" that sounds like "Come Back Baby." I only know it's "Combat Baby" because I saw the video.

Here's what I now know about Metric - DAMN. They were so good. The singer (imagine Uma Thurman and Lara Flynn Boyle, but not as skinny. Skinny - but not that gross skinny like Lara) was amazing - jumping back and forth between keyboard and microphone, and sometimes both. They reminded me of Echobelly meets Elastica, with a little bit of electro thrown in for good measure. All in all, a great 45 minute set and I'm off to download their album.

South went on at 11:15 and started sloppily with Broken Head I. Seriously, they need to bail that song because 1) it's tired and 2) they couldn't match the beat of the electronics of the song at first and I felt kinda bad for them. In the back of my head I was thinking "Oh no! Not a repeat of 2 years ago where Elbow put them to shame!"

They then followed Broken Head I with "Same Old Story" from the new album, which I thought was a bit odd to begin a set with, and it didn't quite work. They're still working out some issues and seem a little uncomfortable.

What will be the next single, and my favorite song on the CD, "Colours in Waves" was next. They're now starting to find their groove as they transition into a perfect "Loosen Your Hold."

OK - now we're getting somewhere.

Next up was a real treat and one I really missed last time they were here and didn't play it - Live Between the Lines (Back Again). WOW! Sounded better than I had expected. Bravo! Cheers!

Set lists gets a bit fuzzy with the order, but "Silver Sun," "Mend These Trends" and "Fragile Day" were all in there. As well as a crushing "Threadbare" transitioning nicely into "Recovered Now" from their first album. And it sounded fooking excellent!

Joel had a few things to say tonight. He was good to be back, and he suggested we check out the Langley School Choir CD, which apparently is a bunch of kids doing Beach Boys covers - badly?

He then dedicated a very pretty "Nine Lives" to "Little J," who I'm assuming is their roadie or sound guy - someone that has been touring with them.

"Paint the Silence" sounded a little better than last time. It's just so hard to get that sound down - I'm not sure why. But the transition from "Paint the Silence" to "Motiveless Crime" sounded perfect enough.

And they closed with an instrumental version of Dolphins Were Junkies (an Ian Brown cover).

Joel then came out and did a beautiful acoustic version of "Run On Time." Thank you, good night and thanks for coming out.

And there it is. It felt like it was longer than an hour - in a good way - but it was an hour on the dot.

Set list was something like:

broken head I
same old story
colours in waves
loosen your hold
live between the lines (back again)
silver sun
mend these trends
fragile day
nine lives
recovered now
paint the silence
motiveless crime
dolphins were junkies (instrumental)
run on time (acoustic)